r&r diary – Nothing Sadder Than a Broken Guitar – 02.07.13


There’s nothing sadder than a broken guitar. Pete Townshend smashed guitars, and all that smashing helped propel The Who to stardom; but “auto-destructive art” aside, I think Pete was more inspiring when he played his guitars. There has to be some karma associated with all that violent smashing up!

Anyway, I had a mishap with my old Hohner jumbo-acoustic guitar a couple weeks ago, and ended up with a broken head-stock and a dead guitar. A couple of musician friends told me it was time to let it go, but I just couldn’t contemplate giving up my beat-up, old companion.

It’s not a valuable guitar, not a collectible, it’s a cheap copy of a Guild; but I’ve had it for a long time, and it definitely has it’s own unique personality. It’s big, clunky, loud, brassy and percussive. Fits me to a “t.” Hohner is famous for it’s harmonicas, not guitars, and this one was made in Japan back in the early eighties. That’s when “made in Japan” basically meant “crappy.”

Anyway, took the guitar to a guitar tech and he pronounced it “Dead,” and he suggested it would be best to buy a new guitar. I then took it to a “master guitar-builder,” and he said, “Not so bad.” Now this guitar-builder makes instruments from scratch. There were freshly cut sheets of wood stacked up in his shop waiting to become custom-made instruments.

The guitar-builder put two ebony splines in the neck, across the break, then glued it, and sanded it all down. It’s not quite good as new, there is a visible scar, but the ebony splines are embedded solidly in the neck, and the neck is straight, and the old guitar plays just fine.

I took this old guitar for granted. It wasn’t until I couldn’t play it that I realized how much I loved the thing. It’s a key element in our band’s sound. Glad to have it back. There are more songs to be had from this old Hohner. – Jammer

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